Rupert Murdoch’s been around a long time. He’s a shrewd businessman and his media empire is, like it or not, as much a part of my ongoing existence as the three times weekly milk delivery and today’s trip to the supermarket. However, I don’t have to like that, and I am now especially dismayed that of all the people that could have been picked to speak on a major US network behalf of London, his organisation decided to choose the woman who, as we have spoken of before in this Parish, is hardly an ambassador for anything. In the interests of balance therefore, and because I hold a public platform, let me put a few things straight.

Some people MIGHT be cowed, but many others are defiant, confident and reassured at the actions of both the Police, NHS and counter-terrorism services. Many people believe that Tobias Ellwood (born in the USA) is an absolute hero, and hope that if we were the one stabbed in a public place, someone as selfless and brilliant as him would be the person who would come to our rescue. However shoddy and underhand Teresa May might have been in Prime Minister’s Question Time mere hours previously, she did a better job of sounding like she was in charge than Cameron ever did in his entire tenure, and her speeches both last night and this morning have a genuine ring of determination. Yeah, she could be a credible actress, but maybe giving her the benefit of the doubt at this moment is acceptable.

Admittedly, there could be those who are afraid this morning too, but not of terrorism. The guy who did this didn’t check his laptop into the hold of a flight from the Middle East to get here. This isn’t someone who appeared out of left field either: the security services knew who he was. This wasn’t terrorism so much as opportunism from someone who will now be remembered for years to come as the man who killed a policeman in the Houses of Parliament. As far as making a name for yourself goes, that’s a pretty terminal approach. PC Keith Palmer was 48, slightly older than my brother. He’d been an officer for 15 years and was part of the Metropolitan Police’s parliamentary and diplomatic protection command. Palmer and Ellwood will be the lasting takeaway for me in all of this: two heroes, in differing guises, who should never have had to have suffered any of what they have and now will as a result of another British born man’s actions.

Oh, and I’m absolutely determined, galvanised and totally united this morning, over quite a few issues. People like Ms Hopkins don’t ever speak for me, at any point ever. Networks like Fox News in the US run sensationalist, often borderline fictional reporting to maintain a reputation for journalism long upheld by Murdoch’s other newspapers and media outlets, and I’m even more determined never to allow that form of ‘news’ to be taken seriously. I’m pretty convinced that if Donald Trump’s son thinks tweeting the Mayor of London over ANYTHING counts as diplomacy in the current climate, he needs to go back to being a male model (or is that not the one who’s NOT sitting on a tree stump in all those memes, I get confused.) Mostly this morning the position is simple: stop doing stupid shit so that people pay you attention.

Nobody speaks for anyone at a distance. Those with a proven record of exploiting situations will continue to do so as long as they’re allowed to get away with it. The only sure fire way to ensure people are held accountable is to do that yourself. Yes, you can be kind and understanding, but if somebody says something without thinking and is clearly talking only to deflect interest towards themselves? CALL THEM OUT. You can do this without resorting to libel. You don’t have to threaten anybody ever, either, because if you do that ends up making your actions no more noble than the person you’re throwing rocks at. Everybody has a voice on Social media, so let’s start using those for good and not evil, shall we?

This is your daily reminder not to believe everything you see on Twitter or are told on the news, and to verify your reports from trusted and approved sources before deciding the Sky is falling. It is a reality check that tells you that home born nationals are just as likely to be as dangerous as anyone who arrived here from overseas. Most importantly, in the era when everybody can speak for themselves, that’s what more people should really be doing. If you don’t think your version of the Truth is being taken seriously, write it down and get it seen. If you don’t like how Netflix has taken Asian manga and turned it into middle class entertainment? Bitching about it on Twitter might get you noticed, but you’re far more likely to gain traction with a blog or Tumblr post that can be read and retweeted in the right places. Let us not forget that the successful challenge to Article 50’s triggering, which resulted in Parliament’s involvement, came about as a result of a blog post.

If you don’t think somebody is speaking for you? Time to do that for yourself.

One response to “Stronger”

  1. I did not watch the news. I read what was happening from the BBC feed, and once I knew what was about, I stepped away. I stepped away before the talking heads had an opportunity to spin it into something more than it was. Before anyone started pointing and saying see!! This can happen to you. The media thrives on fear. They try to portray people at their worst to generate fear, to make you stay tuned in for more information.

    In 1949 a man named Howard Unruh got up one morning strolled down the street and killed 13 people in 12 minutes. My grandmother, my mom, and her brothers and sisters lived in the area it happened. None of them knew him. He was just a young man that lived a few streets over. Someone that you would recognize as someone from the neighborhood, but didn’t know his name. My mom was 12 when it happened. She once told me that her mother had told her. You cannot live your life wondering if something like this will happen to you. You cannot be suspect of every person walking down the street. To live, you have to be able to trust. And I think the media, politicians, all of them have instilled in us a fear of others. You cannot trust the police, you cannot trust your government, other religions. They all place a deep rooted fear in us.

    But what if?

    As an adult over 50, I have seen a lot. I have been intimidated with violence, I too have fear of what if. It is a difficult thing to overcome. The fact that one person, armed with a car and a knife could do what he did, scares people. But there are times we should be scared. Scared that tensions with other countries may lead to war, scared that there are people in the world that want to do us harm. It is a tough thing to balance. But in order to live, it’s what we have to do. We should not be afraid to help someone in need. To say hello to a passerby. I think like anything, you should watch the news for the story, then step away. Once you have the information, allow your brain to process and accept it. Dwelling on it, listening to speculation of what ifs just leads to paranoia and fear.

    My thoughts and prayers to the families and people affected by this tragedy. I am thankful you, your family, and hopefully any friends were not hurt. It’s a scary world we live in.


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